What is the function of the Town Court?
Town Courts play a vital role in the New York State Unified Court System. Town Courts have a very broad, but limited jurisdiction in matters affecting the local community. Civil jurisdiction of a local Town Court is limited to $3000. In landlord/tenant proceedings, however, the monetary jurisdiction is unlimited. Cases can be filed in either the regular Civil Part or Small Claims Part of the Court. Small claims proceedings are intended to provide a low-cost, simplified and informal procedure for individuals to resolve disputes involving limited monetary claims. Often individual litigants involved in small claims cases do not use an attorney in these matters and are not required by law to do so.
New York Town Courts also have criminal jurisdiction over all misdemeanors, violations, and infractions, together with arraignment and preliminary jurisdiction over felonies that are committed within the Town's geographic boundaries. The Town Courts also conduct arraignments and preliminary hearings in felony matters. In addition, these courts hear Vehicle and Traffic Law misdemeanors and traffic infractions.
Each New York State Township has two Town Justices that are elected to four-year terms. The Town of Wheatland also has a Court Clerk. The Town Court office is located in the rear portion of the Wheatland Municipal Building at 22 Main Street in Scottsville, New York. The Town Justices hear cases in the main conference room of the building.
See Town Court FAQs for answers to common inquiries. For the Court Clerk's Office, walk up service is provided, however calling ahead is recommended to ensure that a Clerk is available close to the time you arrive. Note that the entrance for the Town Court Office is located at the rear of the Wheatland Municipal Building.
Town of Wheatland
Town of Wheatland
P.O. Box 28
22 Main Street
Scottsville, New York
Monday - Friday
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Harold H. Litteer, Jr.
Judge Litteer has been an Attorney for more than 25 years and has served as a Town Justice in Wheatland for the past 20 years. He received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the Syracuse University College of Law. Previously Judge Litteer received a Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Empire State College.
Nicole E. Bayly
Judge Bayly has been an Attorney since 2007 and has served as a Town Justice in Wheatland since January 2014. She received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University at Buffalo School of Law. Previously Judge Bayly received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rochester.
Town Justice Roles and Responsbilities
The position of Town Justice is not one that either the State or the Justices take lightly. Town Justices preside on a part-time basis and are not required to be lawyers. In addition to local elections, Magistrates must comply with uniform statewide standards. Justices are considered to be local, as opposed to state, elected officials. Two justices are elected in each town to four-year terms. Each Town Justice, while considered to be part-time, however, is actually on-call 365 days per year, 24 hours per day. It is not unusual for a Town Justice to be called upon for an arraignment during the middle of the night.
All Justices are required to keep accurate, legible records of all proceedings, and at least annually submit case dockets for examination and audit to the Town Board. All Justices Courts must account for and send all fines and fees collected by them to the New York State Comptroller by the 10th day of every month. Justices must complete not only basic training, but also 12 hours of annual classroom training, which is followed by a written examination for non-attorney Justices.
Court Clerk Roles and Responsibilities
The Town of Wheatland has authorized a support staff for the Town Court under the title of Court Clerk. While much of a Court Clerk’s responsibilities center on record keeping and the handling of monies taken in by the Court through fines and fees, Court Clerks handle correspondence, prepare the court calendar and issue certain case related processes. An experienced Court Clerk can lift the burden of clerical detail from the Justices, although it is the Justices who are ultimately responsible for all the clerk’s activities and functions. The following is intended to clarify what services can be provided by the Court Clerk in conjunction with what cannot be provided.
Court Clerks can:
Explain court rules and procedures.
Explain available options for your case or problem.
Provide past case rulings.
Provide cites to, or copies of, the law.
Explain public court operations and jobs.
Describe court records and their availability.
Provide public case information.
Tell you how to make a complaint
Refer you to other offices or persons.
Provide forms with instructions.
But Court Clerks cannot:
Suggest the procedures you should follow.
Provide opinions about which option to choose.
Predict what the court will do.
Analyze the law based on the specifics of your case.
Provide information derived from the decision-making process.
Provide access to sealed or confidential case records.
Provide confidential case information.
Give opinions about your complaint.
Make referrals based on personal preference.
Provide or suggest the information to enter on forms.
Town Court Records
While the public has a common law right of access to court records, that right of access may be restricted by statute. The Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) specifically exempts court records from disclosure. However, certain court records are available under other laws.
All requests for access to Court Records should be directed to the Court Clerk at 585-889-3074, or by stopping into the Court Office located in the rear of the Wheatland Municipal Building at 22 Main Street in Scottsville, New York. Requests involving extensive searches or involving multiple defendants should be made with advanced notice or prearrangements with Court Clerk to avoid disruption of the court's workflow. With the payment of the fees allowed by law, the Court Clerk will diligently search and supply copies of the requested court records not restricted by statute. The request must reasonably describe the specific records sought and cannot simply be a request for general information or for the creation or compilation of records. There is a search fee of $5.00 for every two-year consecutive search and the fee for providing photocopies of court records is 25 cents per page.